ACS sensors

Augmented Reality for Real-Time Detection and Interpretation of Colorimetric Signals Generated by Paper-Based Biosensors.

PMID 28723111


Colorimetric tests are becoming increasingly popular in point-of-need analyses due to the possibility of detecting the signal with the naked eye, which eliminates the utilization of bulky and costly instruments only available in laboratories. However, colorimetric tests may be interpreted incorrectly by nonspecialists due to disparities in color perception or a lack of training. Here we solve this issue with a method that not only detects colorimetric signals but also interprets them so that the test outcome is understandable for anyone. It consists of an augmented reality (AR) app that uses a camera to detect the colored signals generated by a nanoparticle-based immunoassay, and that yields a warning symbol or message when the concentration of analyte is higher than a certain threshold. The proposed method detected the model analyte mouse IgG with a limit of detection of 0.3 μg mL(-1), which was comparable to the limit of detection afforded by classical densitometry performed with a nonportable device. When adapted to the detection of E. coli, the app always yielded a "hazard" warning symbol when the concentration of E. coli in the sample was above the infective dose (10(6) cfu mL(-1) or higher). The proposed method could help nonspecialists make a decision about drinking from a potentially contaminated water source by yielding an unambiguous message that is easily understood by anyone. The widespread availability of smartphones along with the inexpensive paper test that requires no enzymes to generate the signal makes the proposed assay promising for analyses in remote locations and developing countries.